|My hardest goodbye - we both just couldn't stop crying. I love and dearly miss my little Geeta (7).|
INDIA was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
The people were my favorite.
And I grew to love Delhi as my home...
Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I have ever done...
I love each and every person I met there as my own family.
My last week there was spent with the ones I love, moseying around the city of Delhi. I cherished every second.
As one of our last GNI's (Girls Night In) with our dear and bestest Indian friend, Anita-ji, we made some American-India dinner: Anita made mutter paneer (yum! yum!) and Sarah-ji made Bruschetta. Then, Anita brought us each some sweet, very thoughtful presents...
|Our yummy GNI dinner!|
|Anita with our presents. She's wearing Sarah's shirt - yes, Sarah's a Ute and a traitor.|
|Then we made some caramel apples for dessert.|
We took a last-minute trip to Old Delhi to see the famous Red Fort, India's largest mosque, the Jama Masjid, on Friday Muslim prayer day - so cool - and Rajghat, Gandhi-ji's "grave," where his cremated remains are buried. This is the EXTRAORDINARY day I was speaking of a couple of weeks ago.
|Jama Masjid and the onslaught of devoted Muslim men, women, and children as they approached God in weekly prayer at the mosque.|
|The coolest sight as we walked out of the mosque and into Old Delhi - we saw dozens of men with their taqiyah, or Muslim caps, proceeding into the city...|
|Gandhi's burial place.|
|A very peaceful resting place...it's in a large, very beautiful park in Old Delhi. It was a bright day.|
|Saying goodbye to Mintu-ji, our favorite baiyyah at the office - he gave me a ride on his motorcycle one day :)|
I had a spontaneous family party with my Laxmi-ji's (housekeeper) big family! We took lots of pictures. It was a warm day.
|Laxmi's sister and new little nephew.|
|SOME of the children in her family :) Love them ALL!|
|My little Geeta and Ritika, Laxmi's children...|
|We celebrated Christmas in style with Santa Clause at the Branch Christmas party - too fun! I love all of our branch members.|
|I saw Elder Randall one last time and we bid adieu.|
|We stopped by the Lotus temple for a quick run through...it was very spiritual and a great place for meditation! I quite enjoyed it...except for the fact that my passport and wallet were stolen here this day...|
|We finished Sarah's last day in Delhi with a rooftop lunch at our sweet Sister Asha's home...all with great friends - the Dhanpals, the Cleggs and the Maynards. It was so fun! I literally felt like I was on top of the world.|
|Love these little girls :) Anna and Mia Clegg.|
And, we attended Laxmi's and her brother's baby shower on Sunday evening! It was a real party there in the slums of RK Puram Sector 12!
|Dancing with my Geeta :)|
|WE LOVE OUR LAXMI-JI!!! She's the best momma!|
|Geeta and her little cousin - love these little girls.|
|Laxmi and her husband's best friend...Laxmi gave me that pretty yellow dupatta (scarf) - Laxmi looks scared but I promise she loves me!|
Because I was fortunate enough to lose my wallet and passport (I wasn't always so enthusiastic but, I made the best of it), I got to spend lots of extra time with my little Geeta! I had 3 extra days :) Monday morning, we played and drew some pictures.
|We drew hearts on her hand with the names "Liz, Erika, Geeta, Katie, & Sarah" inside the hearts...her idea! And I have THE cutest video of her. Miss her.|
I got to spend more time with my dear friend, Shyam. He invited me over to his home for Breakfast...his sister made parathas - yum! Can you send me some more?!
|His sweet sister cooking breakfast.|
|Shyam's sweet mom - she has the sweetest spirit of nearly everyone I've met (I say that a lot too but...there's a lot of good people in the world!)|
|And, on Wednesday before I left, I got to say goodbye to Shyam one last time on the famous bridge that connects Sector 12 & 13...I'm gonna miss this guy...|
with my favorite girls, the Masseys.
They got me a "good deal" (common phrase in India) at the Sector 8 Market!
Henna, mehendi, anyone? I loved it. Perfect way to come home.
|Carolin and Sherlin Massey - love these two.|
|My amazing hand artwork.|
|I love my Simmy! :)|
|And, we spent a Christmas evening with the Massey family. Seriously, I LOVE our LDS branch!|
|I got to say a real goodbye to Anita-ji at the Maitri office on Wednesday...both nearly crying.|
On Wednesday, I went to Akshardam temple with the Maynards, the Cleggs, and our sweet Simmy - I love all of these guys!
|Simmy and Anna and I - we had too much fun together! :) Can you even believe Anna is only 9 - she's beautiful and so mature! Love love love this girl.|
|Sad for me to leave...I guess Anna wasn't too sad though? hahaha|
And again, I spent some quality time with my Geeta. After she got out of school on Wednesday, I went and played with her for a few hours.
|Look at her cheese it! So cute. I love her little school uniform.|
|She took this picture. And it's one of my favorites :) She makes me happy! My heart hurts just thinking about her and how much I miss her.|
|FYI - this is an Indian birth certificate :)|
Then, I came back again later Wednesday evening to say my final goodbye to Geeta, Laxmi-ji, and her little family...as I walked in, Geeta hid her face in her hair and her hands...she wouldn't even look at me. Finally, after a few torturous minutes, I tickled her into my lap and we just held each other. Laxmi said something about me leaving and I just started crying softly...and then Geeta let go. We just held each other and cried. It was so hard to leave her. Will I see her again?
|We were both sobbing.|
|My favorite little kids - Himanshu and Geeta.|
|Laxmi was sad to see me go, too...we grew so close while I was there. She kept saying "Liz, don't cry! It's okay! We'll talk on computer." But I saw her crying a little bit too.|
India will always be dear to my heart. I will never forget each of these incredible people that have changed my life forever.